Honourable Deputy Minister Ali Majid, Deputy Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Technology; Mr. Ali Nizar, Mayor of Addu City; officials from FENAKA and Mega First Corporation; Distinguished guests, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen.
I am very pleased to be here today at the signing ceremony for the 11MW solar PV installation, under the World Bank-financed Accelerating Sustainable Private Investment in Renewable Energy (ASPIRE) operation.
Through ASPIRE, around USD 9.3 million have been mobilized for 6.5 MW so far. The investment is set to increase with the signing of 11 MW today, and further through the Accelerating Renewable Energy Integration and Sustainable Energy (ARISE) operation that will expand the solar PV installation including battery storage capacity.
The private sector plays a critical role in supporting the deployment of renewable energy. Today’s signing showcases investor confidence in the Maldives’ renewable story—confidence that the Maldives is committed to changing the way it produces energy. This 11MW agreement will also set a ground-breaking benchmark for the Maldives' renewable energy future.
ASPIRE has utilized innovative financing structures to increase private sector investment in the Maldives.
The operation leverages frameworks such as the Sustainable Renewables Risk Mitigation Initiative (SRMI). SRMI uses Technical Assistance, Critical Public Investments, and Risk Mitigation Instruments as its three pillars to deliver strong projects on the ground.
ASPIRE used guarantees, secured payment mechanisms, cost buydown, and currency convertibility clauses to scale up renewable access in the Maldives. These innovations resulted in 17.5 MW of solar projects across the Maldives, including this 11 MW project. This model can be replicated in other Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
The Maldives’ 2030 net-zero target is one of the most ambitious targets for an island nation that is highly vulnerable to climate change impact and is constrained with resources. The World Bank Group is currently preparing a Country Partnership Framework for the next five years, and stands ready to continue our support to help Maldives meet its ambitious targets. In addition to solar power and storage systems, we are also discussing e-mobility with the Government.
Renewable energy scale-up in the Maldives also focuses on gender mainstreaming while achieving its goals; this makes our work in the ASPIRE and ARISE operations unique.
Impact of COVID-19, and more recently of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, is a sobering reminder how vulnerable small island nations like Maldives are to external shocks and how critical for the Maldives to be more energy independent sooner than later. ASPIRE showcases a step in that direction with this 11 MW signing.
The coming decade will show what a small island nation can and should do in transitioning to renewable energy, and Maldives is already leading the way. We all will have a role to play in the same. It is time for us to come together to develop renewable energy solutions for islands that are sustainable and replicable.
Thank you very much for listening.